Can I exchange old currency?

«Espresso Aha!» - D-Mark, Lire & Co: Are old currencies still worth anything?

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With the introduction of the euro in 2002, many European currencies were phased out. However, there are still billions of notes and coins in D-Mark, Schillings or Pesetas - under the mattress, in the safe or in the chest of drawers. «Espresso Aha!» asks: Can you still exchange them?

Even almost 15 years after it was replaced by the euro, many old currencies are not worthless - only lire, French francs, drachmas and Finnish marks expired a few years ago.

The national banks of the respective country are responsible for exchanging the other euro predecessors. They offer an exchange rate that has remained unchanged since the introduction of the euro.

Almost 13 billion Deutschmarks still in circulation

At the beginning of 2016 there were still 12.9 billion D-Marks, by far the largest sum of the former currencies. A large part of this is believed to be in the area of ​​the former Yugoslavia and other parts of Eastern Europe, where the D-Mark was sometimes used as a second currency. Within the last six years, “only” 700 million D-Marks have been exchanged for euros.

The owners can take their time: both coins and banknotes can be exchanged for an unlimited period with the D-Mark. This also applies to Austrian schillings. Other countries such as Belgium continue to change notes, but no longer coins.

The Netherlands has set a deadline of 2032. If you still have Cypriot and Maltese money, you have to hurry up: the exchange is only possible until the end of 2017 / beginning of 2018.

National banks exchange the old money

If you want to exchange the money, you can do this free of charge in a branch of the respective national bank. In the case of the D-Mark, the closest branches to Switzerland are in Freiburg and Villingen-Schwenningen. However, the exchange will also be made if the money arrives in the mail.

The banks then pay into their own account, usually also those in Switzerland. However, the banks warn that shipping is at your own risk.

Credit Suisse exchanges individual old currencies

For Swiss citizens with old currencies under their covers, it is much easier to exchange them at Credit Suisse. As long as they are clients of Credit Suisse. The big bank is the only one in Switzerland that still changes old currencies. However, the bank limits the service to D-Mark, Schilling, Belgian and Luxembourg francs. And there is another restriction: only money from the last series before the introduction of the euro is accepted.

A spokesman for Credit Suisse told Espresso that the service was not used very often. However, the counter staff was informed again this autumn. If the requirements are met, Credit Suisse will give you 40 francs for 100 D-Marks.

Ask first when donating

If you don't want to exchange your old money, you can also try to donate the old currency. At the request of «Espresso», however, various aid organizations were initially overwhelmed.

So it is definitely worth asking whether the donation is even wanted before you turn up with a sack of coins. Worldvision, for example, no longer accepts such donations because the effort is usually higher than the income.

The handicap organization Procap is different, the link will open in a new window. It accepts amounts by post, and old coins and notes can also be handed in at various points such as SBB exchange offices for the organization. This also applies to currencies that are "worthless" in themselves, Procap explains, they would still receive an amount for these - as scrap metal.

Coins in the scrap metal - notes in the trash

Because of their negligible value, currencies such as the lira or French francs can also be disposed of. At the request of “Espresso” at Waste Management and Recycling Zurich, it was said that coins belonged to scrap metal, notes in the fee bag. They have no place in waste paper, as metal threads are sometimes used in notes.

Exchange options:


Banknotes
Coins
BelgiumunlimitedDeadline expired (2004)
Germanyunlimitedunlimited
Estoniaunlimitedunlimited
FinlandDeadline expired (2012)
Deadline expired (2012)
FranceDeadline expired (2012)Deadline expired (2005)
GreeceDeadline expired (2012)Deadline expired (2004)
Irelandunlimited
unlimited
ItalyDeadline expired (2011)
Deadline expired (2011)
Latviaunlimitedunlimited
Lithuaniaunlimitedunlimited
LuxembourgunlimitedDeadline expired (2004)
MaltaExchange possible until January 31, 2018
Deadline expired (2010)
NetherlandsExchange possible until January 1st, 2032Deadline expired (2007)
Austriaunlimitedunlimited
PortugalExchange possible until 02/28/2022Deadline expired (2002)
SlovakiaunlimitedDeadline expired (2013)
Spainunlimitedunlimited
CyprusExchange possible until December 31, 2017Deadline expired (2009)

Source: Austrian National Bank, link will open in a new window

Francs also expire

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If a new series of banknotes is launched in Switzerland, the old banknotes are still valid for a while. The recall will then be initiated and the notes can be exchanged for another 20 years. The sixth series of banknotes issued from 1976 onwards will expire on April 30, 2020.

«Espresso Aha!»

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